Barriers Faced by Persons with Disabilities in Formal Employment in India

Bharat Joshi, Dr. Bigi Thomas


Purpose: According to the World Report on Disability, prepared by the World Health Organisation and the World Bank (2011), people with disabilities still face substantive discrimination in the world of work. An ILO report (2014) on “Disability and corporate social responsibility” identified some serious issues why employees with disability throughout the world still face discrimination and human rights violation. This study attempts to examine the severity of the multiple barriers faced by employees with disability in the course of their employment.

Method: Descriptive research design was used. By stratified random sampling, 100 persons with disabilities (mainly visual, hearing and physical impairments) were contacted and interviewed.

Results: Most of the respondents were between 20-30 years of age and 70% were males. Around 41.2% were graduates, yet most of them had low earnings. A large proportion (87.5%) was employed in the private sector. While most of the respondents (65%) reported facing a high level of physical barriers, a large proportion (52.5%) reported high levels of psychological and information, communication and technological (ICT) barriers.

Conclusion: Employees with disability mentioned several barriers and limitations with regard to transport, the attitudes of employers or colleagues, anxiety or lack of confidence, and issues relating to access and support. To ensure inclusive involvement in an organisation, employers must be sensitised on disability issues. A non-discriminative recruitment policy, an accessibility audit to minimise barriers, role-mapping of suitable positions, and adaptation of equipment to suit employees, are recommended.


Employees with disability; barriers; employment

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